Kentucky basketball: Diallo, Washington videos; Monk signs; summer league

Justin Rowland, Publisher
Cats Illustrated

In today's CatsIllustrated.com Kentucky Basketball Notebook you'll see highlights of Hamidou Diallo and P.J. Washington in Egypt.

You'll also read about Malik Monk signing his rookie contract, what those in Charlotte are learning about him, the summer league action featuring former Cats and the SEC's talent surge, which has continued into the 2018 class.

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SEC'S TALENT SURGE

SEC basketball has a better brand than its had in a while and that's due, in large measure, to the success had by three league programs in the last NCAA tournament.

But Kentucky, Florida and South Carolina's run to the Elite Eight (and the Final Four in the Gamecocks' case) is far from the only reason people are bullish on SEC hoops. The league is landing players in the NBA and, on the other side of the equation, the league is recruiting better than ever.

Rivals.com's Corey Evans pointed out late last week, "Arkansas, Auburn, Missouri & LSU hold a 2018 commitment from a five-star prospect. Not your typical year in the SEC so far," on his Twitter account.

Given the success Kentucky is likely to have in the 2018 class, and the fact that those other SEC programs aren't done, and the league could have its best class ever, collectively, in the current recruiting cycle.

RECRUITING UPDATE

Late last week near five-star Class of 2019 shooting guard Marcedus Leech took unofficial visits to Kentucky and Louisville on the same day.

CatsIllustrated.com touched base with Leech about his Kentucky visit and he was clearly impressed with the program's history and what Joel Justus told him.

READ: Justus had a strong pitch for elite visiting prospect

DIALLO HIGHLIGHTS

Below: Highlights from Hamidou Diallo's first two games in the FIBA 2017 World Cup. He's scored 34 points through two games.

SUMMER LEAGUE ACTION

The real NBA season is a long way off but summer league action is the next best thing for those in withdrawals after the draft. As posted in a UK press release earlier today, three former Wildcats will participate in the Utah Jazz summer league: Aaron Harrison, Isaiah Briscoe and Alex Poythress.

Harrison is currently with the Delaware 87ers in the NBA's D-League. His last NBA action came during the 2015-16 season with the Charlotte Hornets, the only franchise he has played for in the three years since he left Kentucky.

He has averaged 17.8 points, 4.39 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals, averaging 32 minutes per game, during his D-League tour.

In April earlier this year Poythress signed with the 76ers, and in six games he averaged 10.7 points (46.8-percent) and 4.8 rebounds.

READ: Summer league offers Poythress a chance to show he belongs (CSNPhilly.com).

Briscoe was not selected in last month's NBA Draft. He went through the 76ers summer league, along with the aforementioned Harrison and Poythress, last week.

P.J. WASHINGTON HIGHLIGHTS

P.J. Washington figures to be a huge part of Kentucky's upcoming 2017-18 team and he's trying to make sure his presence is felt with the US team in Egypt. Below you can watch highlights of Washington's performances against Iran and Angola.

MONK SIGNS

On Sunday, former Kentucky guard Malik Monk signed his rookie contract with the Charlotte Hornets.

Those hoping to see what Monk would do in summer league action have been disappointed, because an ankle injury has kept him off the court.

Charlotte's selection of Monk as the 11th pick in the first round of last month's NBA Draft has been heralded by many NBA observers as potentially the steal of the year.

The Charlotte Observer reported this weekend that Monk is likely to play at least some point guard for the Hornets.

READ: Four things we learned from a short interview with the Charlotte Hornets' Malik Monk (Charlotte Observer)

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